James Gilchrist

James Gilchrist


Representation: General Management

Photo: Patrick Allen


James Gilchrist is one of the UK’s leading tenors and has performed in major concert halls throughout the world.   Recognised as ‘the finest Evangelist of his generation’ his extensive repertoire embraces works spanning many centuries.   He is an enthusiastic and prolific exponent of lieder and enjoys nothing better than putting together interesting and challenging recital programmes. His impressive discography includes the Schubert and Schumann song cycles, Finzi, Vaughan Williams and Britten.


Full Biography

James Gilchrist began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996. His musical interest was fired at a young age, singing first as a chorister in the choir of New College, Oxford, and later as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge.

James’ extensive concert repertoire has seen him perform in major concert halls throughout the world with conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Bernard Labadie, Harry Christophers, Harry Bicket and the late Richard Hickox. A master of English music, he has performed Britten’s Church Parables in St Petersburg, London and at the Aldeburgh Festival, Nocturne with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and War Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Equally at home in Baroque repertoire, he recently performed Handel’s L’Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato with Stuttgart Bachakademie and at Teatro Real, Madrid; Solomon with Les Violons du Roy; Semele with Concerto Köln; Hercules with the English Concert; Ode to St Cecilia with Basel Chamber Orchestra and Messiah with Boston Handel & Haydn Society. James is famed for his interpretations of Bach, and has recently performed Christmas Oratorio with the Academy of Ancient Music, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and further afield with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto and across Europe with Windsbacher Knabenchor. In the Passions of St John and St Matthew, James works consistently at the highest level and is recognised as the finest Evangelist of his generation; as one recent reviewer noted, ‘he hasn’t become a one-man Evangelist industry by chance’.

In 2017, James celebrates 20 years of collaboration with pianist Anna Tilbrook. Their recent performances together include a weekend celebrating Vaughan Williams at St John’s Smith Square, and a new project for the Wigmore Hall – Schumann and the English Romantics – pairing Schumann song cycles with new commissions from leading composers Sally Beamish, Julian Philips and Jonathan Dove.

James’ impressive discography includes the title role in Albert Herring and Vaughan Williams’ A Poisoned Kiss for Chandos, St John Passion with the AAM, the Finzi song cycle Oh Fair To See, Elizabethan Lute Songs When Laura Smiles with Matthew Wadsworth, Leighton Earth Sweet Earth, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge, Finzi songs and Britten’s Winter Words for Linn Records and the critically-acclaimed recordings of Schubert’s song cycles for Orchid Classics. James and Anna Tilbrook have recently released a new disc of Schumann song cycles for Linn Records.

Recent engagements include performances with The King’s Consort at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest; a recital with Julius Drake at the Concertgebouw; and Haydn’s Creation with Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia and in a new staged production for Garsington Opera and Ballet Rambert, as well as appearing as the Evangelist in St Matthew Passion across Europe with the Monteverdi Choir.

This season, James tours to Tokyo with Bach Collegium Japan for a recording and performance of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, and appears with Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Mozart’s Coronation Mass. James can be seen as the Evangelist in St Matthew Passion with Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and in St John Passion at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. He returns to Haydn’s great Creation for performances with Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Denmark, and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He will also appear in the role of Reverend Horace Adams in Britten’s Peter Grimes for Bergen National Opera and the Edinburgh International Festival, and appears at the Lammermuir, Roman River, Hatfield House and Oxford Lieder festivals. Finally, James also curates a concert series of Bach and Purcell for the Academy of Ancient Music.

Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.
Email: Evie Parker



Hull City of Culture 2017

July 5th, 2017

BBC Big Chamber Weekend

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Peter Grimes in Bergen

May 30th, 2017

James Gilchrist and Giselle Allen join the cast in Norway

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March 16th, 2017

Hazard Chase artists celebrate the culmination of the religious calendar

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20 Years of Gilchrist & Tilbrook

February 16th, 2017

Performance duo celebrate their anniversary with events throughout the year

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The 12 Days to Christmas

December 7th, 2016

A festive feast of delights – a summary of Hazard Chase artists appearing in Christmas concerts this season

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Haydn CREATION, Garsington Opera

“No one tells a musical story with more wonder, more delicacy than James Gilchrist, who delivered the English text with an Evangelist’s care.”
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk (July 2016)

“There’s a strong line-up of vocal soloists: tenor James Gilchrist has clean diction, warm tone and a nice hint of drama.”
Zoë Anderson, The Independent (July 2016)

“A trio of top soloists – soprano Sarah Tynan, tenor James Gilchrist, bass-baritone Neal Davies – relished each aural detail, with terrific contributions from the lean, vital forces of Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian (July 2016)

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Handel SAMSON, Irish Baroque Orchestra

“The sweet heft of James Gilchrist’s tenor voice as Samson impressed from the word go. Convincingly dramatic, with never a touch of bombast, he sang his aria “Total Eclipse” with a restrained pathos while the melismas in “Why does the God of Israel sleep” were glisteningly brilliant. Gilchrist’s characterisation was forceful and intense, capturing at once the frustration and anguish of his lot.”
Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack (January 2016)

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“Words seem inadequate in describing tenor James Gilchrist’s ethereal interpretation of the title role. With incisive diction, his recitatives and arias are sung with intrinsic feeling and penetrating clarity. His final ‘Thus when the sun’, is an object lesson in Handel oratorio singing.”
Pat O’Kelly, Irish Independent (January 2016)

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CHRISTMAS ORATORIO – Academy of Ancient Music

“As the Evangelist James Gilchrist brought an ethereal lightness to his tenor instrument, but impeccable enunciation, strong shaping of sound and the ability to apply a little more weight when necessary generated some intensely moving moments. His performance of…‘Nun mogt ihr stolzen Feinde schrecken’ provided a model lesson in how to micromanage dynamic variation and achieve rhythmic tension.”
Sam Smith, Music OMH (December 2015)

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“the considered placement of the narrative falls to the unassuming and unforced Evangelist of James Gilchrist; his is a supremely courageous and intelligent reading whose interaction with the human volatility of Matthew Rose’s Jesus is profoundly affecting.”
Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone (June 2015)

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Discography & Repertoire



With James Gilchrist (Evangelist), Neal Davies (Christus), Sophie Bevan (soprano), Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), Ed Lyon (tenor) and Roderick Williams (bass arias & Pilatus).  Stephen Cleobury conducts the Choir of King’s College and the Academy of Ancient Music




With James Gilchrist (Evangelist), Stephan Loges (Jesus) – John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and Trinity Boys Choir in a performance recorded live in Pisa Cathedral

SDG (2017)


James Gilchrist’s latest recording for Linn encompasses three of the greatest examples of the song cycle genre.  Liederkreis Op 24, Liederkreis Op 39 and Dichterliebe.  Accompanist: Anna Tilbrook

LINN (2015)

Artist Manager

Sue Nicholls (Cambridge)
01223 706023

Assistant Artist Manager

Evie Parker (Cambridge)
01223 706414